Note from Michael. The following article was contributed by Cassidy Turner, a high school senior. Thanks Cassidy! Cassidy can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
Living environmentally aware has been a smiled upon lifestyle for years, but recently, this way of living has been taking the world by storm. From environmentally sound grocery bags to plates and silverware made of recycled materials, more and more ways to incorporate your respect for the environment are becoming available.
Daryl Hannah, an actress and environmentalist, takes full advantage of modern technology going green. She composts to recycle her uneaten food into fertilizer and her car runs on vegetable oil collected from fast food restaurants like McDonalds.
Her house runs entirely on solar panels and she has fifteen pet chickens to provide her eggs for breakfast. She has been a vegetarian for thirty years and has made sure animals get their deserved rights since she could hold up a picket sign. Now that green living is more common, her seemingly crazy lifestyle is starting to make sense with the rest of the world. She runs a company called “Love Life Goods” that sells eco-friendly products varying from a guitar made of hemp to jewelry made of recycled metals, and is writing a book on how to love yourself and how to love the world you live in.
Hannah has always taken her earth-loving lifestyle to extremes, but so far nothing tops her arrest in 2006 due to her protest to save a farm in South Central. Hannah lived in a tree with famous tree-sitters John Quigley and Julia “Butterfly” Hill for three weeks in order to protect a piece of land used by many civilian farmers to grow crops. The city intended to take the land from its owner and developer Ralph Horowitz and turn it into an incinerator in 1986. While Horowitz fought city hall from taking his land, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank turned the land into a community garden.
According to cbsnews.com, over nine years the land grew to be utilized by many to grow crops such as avocados, walnuts and onions in order to feed themselves and their families. Time.com states that South Central “is the only area in Los Angeles to have lost jobs since 1992…” and that “…the locals are on Horowitz’s side: they’d rather raze the farm and build a warehouse” (Up a Tree With Daryl Hannah). In 2003, Horowitz won his land back as well as the right to evict the land’s many farmers.
Hannah wasn’t the only celebrity who stood up for the farm. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Willie Nelson, Joan Biez, Zack De La Rocha from Rage Against the Machine and Ralph Nader came to support (Up a Tree With Daryl Hannah). According to an article on cbsnews.com, in 2006, Hannah was arrested along with seventeen others. While firemen plucked Hannah from the tree, she raised her fist as an encouraging gesture to her fellow supporters.
Some are very skeptical of how damaged the earth really is due to climate change and pollution and therefore they do not believe that lifestyles need to be changed to prevent the damage from worsening. Being from Los Angeles, I constantly hear that living green is the best way to live. I am exposed to celebrities making changes in the way they run their lives to better the health of the earth, and new products are always becoming available to the public. Though it seems that helping the state of the earth takes money and fame, it is much more accessible than people realize.
It does not take living in a tree to be sustainable. You do not need to build your house out of recycled materials or opt for vegetable oil over gas (though it would help). Living an environmentally friendly life can start with recycling your recyclables or using re-usable bags instead of plastic ones at the grocery store. Living environmentally friendly is encouraged within our schools, communities and governments. With new technology and easy ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints comes responsibility. Sometimes we rely on others to get the job done, thinking that it is okay if we don’t make a change because other people make up for it. It’s like saving up your pennies because one day they will add up; though the cause seems far away, bit by bit an individual’s efforts will make a difference.
Stein, Joel. “Up a Tree With Daryl Hannah.” Time. 16 June 2006. Web. 6 Jan. 2010.
Bridgman, Andrew R. “Cops Arrest Tree-Sitters in L.A. -CBS News.” CBS News. 14 June 2006. Web. 6 Jan. 2010.